Federal jail escapee plans to plead guilty
By KIM JANSSEN Federal Courts Reporter August 21, 2013 10:40AM
Updated: September 23, 2013 2:19PM
The second of two federal inmates who made a daring escape from the downtown Metropolitan Correctional Center during the Christmas holiday plans to plead guilty, his attorney said Wednesday.
Bank robber Kenneth Conley, 39, spent nearly two weeks on the run after he and cellmate, Jose Banks, widened their cell window with tools, then rappelled from the 17th floor of the jail using rope made from bed sheets and dental floss.
Following his capture in south suburban Palos Hills on Jan. 4, he was sentenced in May to 20 years for a 2011 bank robbery in Homewood.
The escape could add an additional 5 years to his sentence, but defense attorney Gary Ravitz told Judge Gary Feinerman on Wednesday that Conley is negotiating a plea deal with prosecutors.
If he follows through, it would mean that embarrassing details of the escape won’t have to be aired at a trial — potentially sparing the U.S. Bureau of Prisons from embarrassment.
Prosecutors previously dropped escape charges against Banks, who is serving an 80 year sentence for a string of heists.
Conley — who is locked up at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind. and who followed Wednesday’s hearing via video-link — is scheduled to change his plea at a hearing on Oct. 9.